Riding for the Disabled group at Hollesley marks 30 years of therapy and fun

Carriage driving demonstration in the indoor arena at Pettistree Farm, Sutton for HRH The Princess R

Carriage driving demonstration in the indoor arena at Pettistree Farm, Sutton for HRH The Princess Royal's visit to the Hollesley Group in 2013 - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A Suffolk charity is looking back at three decades of providing horse-riding and carriage driving lessons for adults and children with disabilities – and looking ahead to prospective years in a new home.

Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Hollesley Group was established in 1985 – based originally at Poplar Park in Hollesley before finding its home for the last 22 years at Pettistree Hall Farm, Sutton.

Volunteer instructor, Tessa Amos said: “We are delighted to be celebrating our 30th anniversary.

“Riding and carriage driving are so important for our clients. It helps to build confidence and independence, and is widely recognised by the medical profession as a valuable therapeutic exercise.

“I would like to pay tribute to our volunteers – without whom none of this could happen – our management committee and board.

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“We look forward to the next 30 years, providing this fantastic activity for all our clients.”

To kick off festivities, the charity is hosting a summer celebration event on Saturday, July 11, showcasing its horses and clients’ work. The event, which is for all the family, will be opened by sports journalist and author Simon Barnes – writer of The Horsey Life and father of a child with Down’s syndrome who has ridden with the RDA.

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While reflecting on past successes, the RDA Hollesley Group will also be looking to the future. For 22 years it has been provided a home by Suffolk landowners, the Quilter family – an arrangement that ends in 2016.

Tessa Amos said: “We are extremely grateful to the Quilter family for providing us with a home for much longer than we ever expected.

“We know that it’s time to move on and both the Quilter family and agent for the estate, Summers Wykes-Sneyd, are being extremely helpful and supportive.”

Guy Quilter said: “It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to have the RDA on the estate. We will do everything we can to support them during their search for new premises.”

The Hollesley Group said it was indebted to Chris Clarke of Clarke & Simpson for kindly offering to front its search for a new home.

If landowners are interested in offering the RDA a new home, they should call 01394 410014.

The summer celebration takes place at Pettistree Hall Farm, Sutton, near Woodbridge, from 11am-3pm, featuring craft stalls, demonstrations, pony rides, tug-of-war with Rock Barracks, bouncy castle and refreshments.

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